In addition to the social and economic challenges of the current exceptional situation, many passengers are currently concerned about what will happen to their already booked and paid flights.
Due to the massive restrictions on air traffic, many flights have been cancelled and only a few selected destinations will continue to be served. Many airlines seem to be accommodating and offer alternatives. But what is the legal situation regarding cancellations due to the corona virus?
First of all, EU Regulation 261/2004 on air passenger rights remains in force. This means that in the event of flight cancellations, the airlines are obliged to reimburse passengers. All airlines would have to reimburse passengers for cancelled flights. In practice, this is probably the most difficult option, although legally it is clearly one that also could be used. Many airlines have deactivated the function for requesting a refund. Due to fears of liquidity shortages, airlines are currently putting obstacles in the way to customers wishing to be reimbursed the airfares to which they are entitled.
Instead, the airlines promote the use of numerous alternatives:
Swiss and Edelweiss, for example, offer free rebooking options. Certain flights can thus be postponed and even rebooked to other destinations.
Please note: If the newly booked destination or seat class is more expensive than the original ticket, the difference must be paid. Therefore, it may not be a completely free rebooking option.
Chair Airlines offers yet another alternative. In addition to the possibility of rebooking, it is also possible to receive the ticket price as a voucher. The special aspect is that the value of the voucher will be 120% of the booking price.
In general, however, it should be noted that each airline offers different alternatives. In addition, each airline has set different dates for the possible rebooking periods, which is why it is best to always check the website of your own airline to find out about their current alternatives.
If none of the alternatives offered is suitable or if you prefer a refund of the airfare paid, the only way to obtain a refund at the moment seems to be through legal action on the airline involved.
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